Vision2025 is a community and economic development program focused on creating urban resiliency within three focus areas. Its overarching goal is to build Johnstown into a vibrant and resilient community by attracting economic, social and environmental investment.

The program has broad support from Johnstown’s business community, nonprofit sector, community groups, public and government agencies. Launched in fall 2015, it has more than 1,000 participants actively engaged in a variety of grassroots development projects through a number of volunteer “capture teams.” Several millions of dollars of cash and in-kind investment have been attributed to the success of Vision2025. This type of region-wide development program has never been tried before in Johnstown.

The Harvard team: Julie Campoli, Thaddeus Pawlowski, Damon Rich, Anne-Marie Lubenau, Charles McKinney, LaShawn Hoffman and Marc Norman.

Professional project consultants, Walter Burlack and Ryan Kieta, oversee both the Vision community development framework and project management for several regional initiatives. Some of these efforts include planning for expanded street tree, greenspace and waterways presence within the city, youth involvement initiatives among others.

One example of a Vision2025 project is the Riverwall Charrette. In 2015, the city requested that the Army Corps of Engineers evaluate the flood walls to determine how they might be modified for recreation and development. As part of the charrette, seven world-renowned architects, planners and developers from the Loeb Fellowship of Harvard University Graduate School of Design came to Johnstown to participate in the discussion and planning, which occurred as a series of events over one weekend.

As a result we gained a detailed understanding of how much potential these rivers hold, how they could enhance our community, and what we could begin planning to make this opportunity a reality.

Another project is to develop and implement a Master Tree Plan for Johnstown. In 2016, the Pittsburgh-based Western Pennsylvania Conservancy was awarded a contract to develop the city’s Master Tree Plan, which will guide greenspace efforts for years.

This effort represents a highly collaborative approach, with input from the city’s Shade Tree Commission and Planning Commission, local foundations and nonprofits, neighborhood groups, and volunteer capture teams. A healthy urban tree canopy provides many environmental, economic, health, social, energy and aesthetic benefits to communities including cleaner air, stormwater runoff control, opportunities for community engagement, increased business in shopping districts and higher residential property values.

However, planting trees and repurposing our rivers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what Vision2025 has planned. Our team is excited to continue pushing forward with all of its initiatives to make a lasting impact in our community.

To find out more or become involved with our efforts, visit us at www.johnstown25.com